Monday, 20 February 2017

Here we go again.

I was looking at a website that pushes for covering city walls in murals.  

Graffiti that gentrifies areas, murals that may have come straight out of Disney or some other mainstream tv or movie show.  

I read a line that said something like "now there is glorious art where before there was only tags and throw ups".  And that on a graffiti blog.  It's like the once great NME awarding Beyonce album of the year. Yer mother shouldn't like it.

Don't get me wrong.  I like a well executed mural.  But importing some graffiti rock star to mural over the tags and throw ups of the local community so the hipsters, flipsters and finger popping tosspots will buy up a converted warehouse or sweatshop . . . well, it just seems wrong to me.

So the Corn Poppy is going to avoid all that in the future.

In future if there is graffiti on these pages it will be graffiti not street art.  It won't be mindless but it will be pointless.  It will be the work of people who don't have a voice, who don't have a deal with Saatchi, who wouldn't know a gallery show if it bit them in the ass, who are not getting into bed with Nike or Relentless. People who just wanna paint for the sake of it, because they have to.

Maybe there will be some big name street art here in future. Never say never.  But you can find that elsewhere so from now on I'm gonna concentrate on other stuff.

I've been here before.  I've whined about graffiti that is too Colour Supplement, too Coffee Table Book in the past.  I've wanted to move away from "art students painting outdoors".  But I like the pictures.  Like someone who wants to be a vegetarian but thinks they like bacon butties too much its hard to make the leap.

But like the day I gave up eating meat, I'm just gonna go cold turkey. No more street art.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

#500 The Virtual Festival 2017 - an evening of song, laughter and entertainment

 The Virtual Festival

for one night only

To celebrate the 500th entry 
of The Corn Poppy blog

an evening of song, comedy and movies,

price of admission - free!!

in the comfort of your own home
refreshments available (in your fridge)

with a programme put together by our Team of Virtual Organisers

children and dogs welcome

 in the music tent


disco with DJ Clownfish

1:00 until dawn

go put a record on

at the Comedy Club





The rest of the comedy programme for the evening is cancelled.
Following the press conference above, satire is redundant.

at the Movies




Friday, 10 February 2017

It couldn't happen here

Donald Trump - my unwitting and unwanted part in his rise to power.

photo by The Corn Poppy, May 2014

A couple of years ago I trekked to Birmingham to see an exhibition by Bill Drummond.
When I got there Bill, with his co-worker and photographer Tracey, was about to go out and do Art.
Specifically he was going to tag a UKIP poster.
Because not unreasonably it offended him.
Believing in bridges not walls.
Less borders, not more.

Tracey took some photos and tweeted them.
Some passers by took photos on their phones and may well have shared them.
They certainly found it funny and right on.

picture by The Corn Poppy, May 2014
I took some photos too.
I wrote a blog about my day trip to Birmingham.
I tweeted a picture.
The blog and tweet were well received and shared.
But to a limited audience.

All was quiet for a little while, until Bill wrote about it.
Bill writes a lot of things.
Sometimes his pieces are published on Caught by the River or The Quietus.

Sometimes they're republished by the Huffington  Post.
Huffington Post is a left leaning web news page.

Breitbart is an alt-right web news page.
Breitbart like to discredit those on the left, like Huffington Post.

So, a Huffington Post contributor committing an illegal act (graffiti) in a way that could be construed as against free speech (or could be a statement of free speech) is a good target for Breitbart.

Breitbart's CEO was a man called Steve Brannon.  Who is now (still) Trump's right  hand man (or Trump's puppeteer if you prefer).

And to paraphrase Sinclair Lewis in  It couldn't happen here:
Then the good old war horse, Brannon, veteran of a hundred campaigns against subversive Reds, trained to ridicule out of existence the cant of Socialist hecklers and turn the laugh against them, swung into gallant action:
Breitbart posted the story of Bill's tagging a poster on an industrial estate in Birmingham with a title linking it to Huffington Post.  And they used my fucking photo.  The one at the top of this page.  Weirdly the photo links on the Breitbart page are gone now.

photo by The Corn Poppy, May 2014

Alt facts and fake news and the rest are big news now but they've been around for a while (forever I guess).  Suggesting your enemy has a flaw, repeating, repeating, repeating, whether it is true or not, is the death by a thousand cuts.  Every time Trump said "crooked Hillary" it seeped a little more into your psyche. No matter how much you thought "Trump bad, Hillary good" after a while the best you could think was "Hillary bad, Trump worse".

Breitbart suggested HuffPo supported criminals (even if they were only graffitists) therefore you can't trust them.  Nothing they say has value because Bill Drummond is a HuffPo contributor and he defaced a poster.

This particular story was a long time ago, and pretty insignificant.  But it is part of the death by a thousand cuts.  All part of the process of marginalising the mainstream media and by using my photo (without my permission) made me an accesory.  What I didn't realise at the time was the extent to which destroying trust in the media was a foundation stone for stealing an election.  And now, despite the fact that most of the fake news and alternative facts have come from Trump, he can shout Fake News at any story he doesn't like and half the country believe him.

God help us if Trump starts to criticise the legal system . . .

photo by The Corn Poppy, May 2014

Friday, 3 February 2017

Mods & Rockers

I met an old man looking wistfully at some old scooters.

I used to have one of these, he said.  
Back in the '60s.  
Used to go down to Brighton. 
Mods and Rockers. 
Can't remember which I was now.

I guess you were a Mod if you had a scooter, I suggested.

Was I? was I now? he replied

Monday, 30 January 2017

A qualified psychiatric nurse asks:

sorry for limping, I have a sore foot

there's gotta be a better use

it has its integrity

a lot of people are into it

did it give you a buzz?
it'll last for as long as we live

a bible of dreams

 what's the purpose Jim? 
well, if you're an artist and you create a work of art you wanna share it with people.
I don't know.
Southampton Subway Art

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Colours are good for you

Colours fly away from me

All my colours turn to clouds

the Colourfield

Black is the colour
of my true love's eyes

the colour in anything

Saturday, 21 January 2017

BM137 - Terminist, my arse

There's a wreck on the Hamble River in Hampshire.  Everyone's favourite wreck.  It has been there forever, well, the early 1980s anyway.  I used to tell a story about it, then I found out my story was about a different boat altogether, so I tried to find the real story.

To be honest the work has all been done by the Maritime Archaeology Trust who went and asked a bloke called Pete.  Pete was a tugboat man who used to work with my dad and at one time lived next door to my wife.  So I'm gonna pretend I asked him.

Hey Pete, you know the wreck by Crableck, the Terminist?

Terminist my arse, old son.  That's the William Allen

Here's a google image of the vessel a few years ago.  It is obviously a timber vessel, and is about 30m long.  Back in the early/mid 80's there was a job creation scheme to tidy up the Hamble River.  It was a Youth Opportunities programme.  First of all a survey was carried out to identify the various wrecks and debris on the banks of the river.  Then the obvious rubbish was removed; then that which had no historic or local significance.  This hulk was left in situ.  Removal would have been quite a big job.  Besides, it became a mini eco system and it looked good.

If you look closely at the bow, below, you can make out the letters and numbers BM137.

And if you look at the picture below you will see the same letters and numbers.  And if you look closer you may be able to make out the name William Allen

Knowing that makes it easy to find that BM137, William Allen was a Motor Fishing Vessel built in 1944.  Prior to 1956 she had a Lowestoft registration LT393 and was named Ala.

1944    built at Wivenhoe, Essex, an MFV or Motor Fishing Vessel, built at a time when Britain's fishing fleet was depleted.

1948    sold on, registered as Ala, LT393 of Lowestoft

1956    sold on again, reregistered as William Allen, BM137 of Brixham

Dimensions:  length 92 ft, breadth 22.6 ft, draft 11.  Carvel construction, rounded cruiser stern
Tonnage:       gross 118, net 58 tons       

Call sign:      GFXS
Official nnumber 166716
Engine:         240 bhp by Crossley Bros 

1948-1954 – Ala, owner G. Claridge, Wheathampsted, Herts. Registered Lowestoft - LT393
1955-1957 – Ala, owner Hunley Fishing Company, Lowestoft, Suffolk. Reg Lowestoft - LT393
1957-1962 – renamed William Allen, owner Torbay Trawlers Ltd. Reg Brixham - BM 137
1963-1964 – William Allen, owner Fresher Fish Ltd, Brixham. Reg Brixham - BM137
1965          -  William Allen, owner Spincraft Ltd, London. Reg Brixham - BM137 
                      continued trawling until 1966
1966-1993 – William Allen, owner Philip M. Tree, Gosport. Reg Brixham - BM137
                      at some point became a houseboat, for the King family, may have been involved in a collision with the Floating Bridge at Itchen, Southampton, in 1960s
                     then Bill Smith who lived on board and ran a fibreglass boat repair business. Also poet and local radio broadcaster.  Abandoned in its current location in the 1980s

In Autumn 2016 the starboard bow gave way.  Perhaps her days are numbered now.  The river knows this:  There is no hurry, the sun still rises, the river keeps on flowing.

Finally, if you're going to have a look don't do it on a falling tide: